October 3, 1997
Shooting: Interview Day
I found out this morning that despite not being scheduled for any interviews my presence was required at the Four Seasons Hotel. I couldn't really complain though. As my father says, "It sure beats digging ditches for a living."
I arrived at the Four Seasons around 11am, almost an hour before 'Actor X' was scheduled for his hour of interviews. The interviewing was arranged so that each magazine got ten minutes in rotation. None of the press seemed all too pleased with this. I couldn't blame them really, as they had flown all the way from Japan. One reporter became incredibly irate, bitching that he didn't fly around the world for ten minutes with George Romero. His moaning paid off because he was able to get nearly a half hour of the director's time. During the wait before the interviews I helped myself to more of the delicious coffee provided by the hotel. (These Beverly Hills hotels ain't half bad!) Eventually 'Actor X' showed up with his dreary manager and father. They were surprised to see me, but pleased (not the agent, of course).
I was on hand for all the 'Actor X' interviews and listened as each reporter asked questions near identical to the previous reporter's. What struck me most about 'Actor X' was his insistence to be in films that rely on acting. He constantly stated how he has no interest in films with special effects that overshadow the story. I found this rare, especially for someone his age where effects and action seem to be the be-all end-all.
The hour of interviews went quick and when they were done we gathered in a large room off the side to look through the shots that the Japanese still photographer, Kazuaki Kiriya, had taken on the first night, shots to be used in the promotional poster for the game. After this, 'Actor X' was given presents by the people from Capcom, a Biohazard jacket and other Biohazard wear.
It came time to say good-bye. 'Actor X' shook hands with several of the higher-ups and posed for a few personal pictures. When it came time for me to say goodbye, I held out my hand, wondering if I'd ever see him again. 'Actor X' gave a big smile and then unexpectedly wrapped his arms around me. There were thirty or more people in the room and being mostly Japanese this type of behavior was shocking. A startled hush passed through the room. But I didn't care. I'd had a good time hanging with 'Actor X' and would miss him.
An hour later George came for his interviews. Like 'Actor X', he too was surprised to see me. We spoke for a moment, but then he was rushed into the arms of the dozen plus reporters waiting their turn to interview the so-called 'Master of Horror'.
Most reporters asked questions based on the living dead movies and the Biohazard 2 shoot. George, while mostly humble, seemed to enjoy the attention.
Just before 6 p.m., after the final interview was conducted and after I was able to get him to pose for a few shots with myself, Romero was given his presents from Capcom: large, and very expensive remote control models of Godzilla and Mothra. George burst into a chuckle and a smile at the sight of these. He posed with the Godzilla and Mothra figures on his knees as the photogs went crazy.
Out in the hall, as George and Jason prepared to go and see the returns from the shoot, I said my farewell. I found it a bit difficult to say goodbye. I had been very worried that George, a man who has always been inspirational to me, would not live up to my expectations. But everything about him, everything I had sensed, had been true. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend, or at least a potential one. We shook and promised to keep in touch. I watched as he and Jason passed down the hall and into the elevator, thus ending one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.